Posted on 19 Apr 2011
Catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide (AIR) today announced that with the recent addition of a prominent Florida insurer, 20 of the top 25 Florida residential writers now rely on the AIR U.S. Hurricane Model to manage their hurricane risk.
“Leading organizations recognize that a robust catastrophe model should deliver superior risk differentiation and, more important, provide information about potential losses before they occur,” said Ming Lee, president and CEO of AIR Worldwide. “The AIR U.S. Hurricane Model has long set the industry standard by providing a consistent, realistic, and comprehensive view of U.S. hurricane risk, and companies value our sound approach to incorporating advanced science and engineering into our models.”
The AIR U.S. Hurricane Model incorporates the latest research on the physical structure of hurricanes and an unprecedented quantity of wind speed observation data to capture the full life cycle of storms. This enables more precise risk differentiation based on such factors as geography, construction, occupancy, year built, and individual building characteristics.
History has repeatedly demonstrated that damaging winds from hurricanes can penetrate hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles inland. Models limited to coastal states fail to capture the full extent of losses. Since its inception, the AIR model has covered inland states such as Arkansas, Kentucky, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Tennessee in addition to the entire Gulf and Eastern Seaboard from Texas to Maine. In 2010, the model domain was extended to include Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri. Simulated storms decay along realistic tracks and can even re-intensify as they interact with other weather systems — as Hurricane Ike did in 2008.
The AIR model also incorporates findings from a comprehensive peer-reviewed study of the evolution of wind load standards, building codes, and building construction practices for all hurricane-prone regions in the United States. Building code adoption and enforcement is left largely to state and local governments. This means that building vulnerability to hurricane winds is highly variable between — and even within — states. The AIR model therefore takes into account the specific year of construction to capture more accurately a building’s vulnerability to wind loads.
Analysis of claims data shows that hurricane damage depends not only on peak wind speed but also on the duration of winds. Slow-moving, less intense storms can wreak as much damage as stronger, fast-moving storms. By considering the complete time profile of each hurricane at each location, the AIR model effectively captures the cumulative effects of hurricane force winds on structures using a scientifically sound approach, which has been published in the Proceedings of the 11th Americas Conference on Wind Engineering.